The USS Carl Vinson is a Nimitz-class supercarrier in the U.S. Navy. It is the third of its class to see active service, and is named after Congressman Carl Vinson, who spearheaded efforts to expand the American fleet. The ship's designation is CVN-70.
The USS Carl Vinson was launched in 1980, commissioned in 1982, and had its maiden voyage in 1983. The ship saw extended service in the Persian Gulf, aiding in cruise missile strikes on Iraq in 1996, helping to maintain the no-fly zone in southern Iraq, and participating in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The ship was also used in the burial at sea of Osama bin Laden after Operation Neptune Spear in 2011.
The USS Carl Vinson carries 5,480 crew, including 3,200 sailors and a 2,480-member air wing. The flight deck supports around 85 planes, but this total can vary according to the particular mission the carrier is on at any given time.
In addition to combat operations, the Carl Vinson aided in the humanitarian effort after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and played host to the first official NCAA basketball game on an aircraft carrier on Veterans Day 2011. North Carolina beat Michigan State 67-55 on the carrier's flight deck.